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Gareth Southgate provides major hint about Kobbie Mainoo’s England role in Euro 2024



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Gareth Southgate has provided a major hint about Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo’s role in his Euro 2024 plans.

Mainoo, 19, had an excellent season with United last term and ended the campaign in tremendous fashion by scoring the winning goal in the FA Cup final.

The teenage midfielder made 33 appearances for Erik ten Hag’s side after making his full Premier League debut in November and earned his first England call-up in March.

Mainoo received his first of two Wembley Man of the Match awards after his first start for the Three Lions against Belgium and has now been included in the final 26-man squad for the European Championships in Germany.

Many fans are unsure about whether Mainoo will be a starter at the tournament or used as a squad player.

However, Gareth Southgate’s latest comments have suggested that one unexpected area of Mainoo’s game could be a factor in him starting alongside Declan Rice in the midfield.

England have previously been excellent from set-pieces in tournaments, both in terms of defensively and offensively. However, without Harry Maguire, that will certainly be different for Southgate.

But the England manager has singled out Mainoo’s defensive ability in the air, highlighting his role in the FA Cup final, where he bullied Erling Haaland on several occasions, suggesting that the 19-year-old’s defensive ability could be beneficial to the team, alongside his excellence in possession.

“We are going to be different,” said Southgate about set pieces. “There’s no doubt that the senior boys who have gone today are big characters, but we still have big characters, and we have guys who are going to emerge in the coming weeks. We’ll be different; we’ll have to find different strategies, different ways of working.

“Harry Maguire’s consistently been one of our main first contact from set-plays but we have got other options within that, but we have got other opportunities to be creative in our set-plays as well.

“But some smaller players can cope really well and mark really well. You saw Kobbie Mainoo doing a pretty good job from corners for Manchester United in the FA Cup final, for example.”

Mainoo is the only teenager in Southgate’s 26-man squad but has already convinced the squad, including Arsenal star Declan Rice, that he is ready for the challenge.

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